By Gerald Cowan
Each of us has a deadly weapon with which we are able to inflict great damage to those around us. This weapon is small in size, and so it is deceptively dangerous. Although it is potentially dangerous to others our tongues are most dangerous to ourselves. They get us into trouble we would rather not have. In our moments of anger we apply the tongue unmercifully, often to our own shame and regret when the fit of anger has passed. In our unguarded moments we allow unkind and uncalled-for statements to fall from our tongues, statements that damage lives and drive wedges between us and others. No one of us has enough friends that we can afford to lose even one. But even close friends can be alienated and driven away by unfriendly words.
Our tongues bring judgment upon us (Matthew 7:1-4). They reveal what kind of persons we really are. The Lord said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). When our tongues get out of control they reveal to others what is in us.
The most despicable and dishonorable use of this weapon of ours is gossip, and for some reason it is the most widespread. People who would not dare to speak their minds face to face with those they criticize often sneak around and lay traps for them by turning others against them – gossips are a cowardly lot! When someone says to another, concerning some absent third party, “Oh, he is a nice enough person, but...” or, “He does a lot of good things, but...” you can be sure that murder is about to be committed. Some defenseless character is going to be assassinated. Of course, the one who listens to it or allows it to happen, or just accepts it without proving anything is an accessory to the crime – an accessory to murder!
What is your reaction to all of this? Do you let others get away with murder? All of us may do so, at one time or another. We allow others – even the church, the scripture, and the Lord himself – to be defamed, maligned, and perhaps blasphemed. We are accessories, partly responsible for the sins of others’ tongues. But do you ever commit murder with your own tongue? Do others let you get away with it, without holding you accountable for it? We must remember that all things are done in the sight of God. He will see to it that nobody ever gets away with murder, or with any other sin of the tongue.
- Gerald Cowan, a longtime preacher and missionary, is retired from full-time pulpit preaching. Gerald publishes an e-mail newsletter entitled GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICAL WRITINGS. He is available for Gospel Meetings and he may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com